Matchweek 37 Preview

Before we get into this weekends preview let’s go over Barcelona v Liverpool in the first leg of their Semifinal.

On paper you’d think Liverpool were able to get a result as they had more of the ball, more shots, and even more passes completed. But the scoreline says a completely different story as Barcelona ended up throttling Liverpool 3-0. They failed to achieve two of my three key points; stopping Messi and keeping a clean sheet/scoring an away goal. They did well to contain Messi for a lot of the match but there were times that the entire Liverpool defense went into panic mode whenever he had space, which allowed the lanes for Suarez and Coutinho to open up. On his first goal he was unmarked in the box and put away one of the easier chances of his career. That’s what happens when you take your eye off of him for 5 seconds in the box.

It also didn’t help that Messi scored one of the greatest free kicks we’ve ever seen. It was so good that the Liverpool players couldn’t even complain and it even made Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp smile on the touchline. 30 yards out, at 61 miles per hour and perfectly in the top corner. I really recommend watching the goal HERE. Liverpool now have a massive mountain to climb especially since they don’t have an away goal in their back pocket.

This Season’s Record: 201-159-46 (+14.9 Units)
Barcelona v. Liverpool: 1-0 (+1.0 Units)

Saturday, May 4th
English Premier League
7:30 am EST

Tottenham @ Bournemouth – This is an interesting one because how Spurs line up will say a lot about their commitment to their top 4 finish and their Champions League Semifinal on Wednesday. Son was rested on Tuesday against Ajax because of his suspension but they’ll be without Vertonghen, Kane and several other rotation players I’m sayursay both because of rest and injuries. They have enough of a cushion in the league where if they drop points, a top four finish is still likely. I think they’ll end up resting a few players because of their upcoming trip to Amsterdam. Their form worries me as they’ve only had one win in their last five matches and away from home they’ve gone 1-8 in their last 9. Bournemouth haven’t been fantastic either but they’re coming off of a 3-3 draw at Southampton where they showed that they can grind out a result especially by scoring goals. This is a great opportunity for Bournemouth to steal some points and I’m going to take them as home underdogs. Bournemouth (+0.5, -110).

10:00 am EST

Fulham @ Wolves – Fulham have been in fantastic form ever since they got relegated, winning three straight. But those matches weren’t far-fetched wins for the club and they’ll now have to face their first real test in Wolves. They’ve gone 0-4 in their last four matches against top-8 opponents with a -9 goal differential which makes for an average loss margin of 2.25. Wolves meanwhile have gone their last three matches unbeaten, with a win away at Watford and a win at home to Arsenal. They’re playing well enough to halt Fulham’s form in it’s tracks and they’re still fighting for that 7th place spot. A win here and a Leicester loss at City could guarantee that spot. I’ll take them on the spread at home. Wolves (-1. -110).

German Bundesliga
9:30 am EST

Nurnberg @ Wolfsburg – Nurnberg’s draw against Bayern last weekend was nothing short of spectacular, but it’s a one-off performance In my opinion. Adding to that, Schalke’s win at Dortmund puts Nurnberg’s hopes of survival at almost 0 as they now have an 11 point gap with 5 matches left. They’ll face a Wolfsburg team who have performed up to their standard over the last few matches, covering or pushing in most of them. They’re also still within an earshot of qualifying for European competition next season as they sit only 2 points behind the last Europa League spot and 4 points behind the last Champions League spot. Three points would be crucial in maintaining that quest for Europe and I trust them to get those points at home here. Wolfsburg (-1, -105).

Sunday, May 5th
English Premier League
9:00 am EST

Watford @ Chelsea – Chelsea will be coming off of their 1-1 draw at Frankfurt in the Europa League Semifinals while Watford will have a full week’s rest. I always like fading teams late in the season when they’re coming off of major travel, especially against clubs with a full week’s rest. Also, Chelsea’s recent results have been somewhat uninspiring as their only win in their last five matches was at home to Slavia Prague in the Quarterfinals of the Europa League. Yes Watford are coming off of a home loss last weekend, but they’ve been pretty good against top-6 clubs away from home this season. They’ve only failed to cover once against those teams in their last four tries and rank 8th in the league in away goal differential. I think they can cause Chelsea some serious trouble, especially if Sarri decides to rest some starters before the second leg against Frankfurt. I’ll take them on a spread that I think is 0.5 points too many. Watford (+1.5, -125).

Spanish La Liga
6:00 am EST

Girona @ Getafe – This is one of the more intriguing matches of the weekend as Getafe are still clinging on the the last Champions League spot and Girona are still at risk of relegation. Due to those factors, Getafe only sit as -0.5 favorites, but I think Vegas is severely underestimating how good this squad is. In their last few matches, Getafe have drawn Real Madrid, beaten Sevilla handily and had a home win against Bilbao. That’s three major results against three top-7 clubs while Girona are 1-6 in their last 7 matches. Yes, Girona’s sole win came against Sevilla last weekend (which ironically helped Getafe tremendously in the race for 4th), but overall Girona aren’t a team that Getafe should be too scared of. I love Getafe at home here to continue their quest for their first Champions League birth in 8 years and only their second ever. Getafe (-0.5, -125).

German Bundesliga
7:30 am EST

Augsburg @ Schalke – Schalke are coming off of their biggest win of the season as they dismantled rivals Dortmund and possibly ruined their chances at a Bundesliga title. Shockingly though, they still sit in the last safe spot in the league, but with a six point cushion. Meanwhile Augsburg sit only one point above them. If either of these teams can get three points, it’ll likely guarantee survival for that club. Although Augsburg have had a few good results as of late, they haven’t won in any of their last ten away matches, with their last win coming back in October. I trust Schalke, who are surely buzzing after their win last weekend, to take care of business at home and guarantee survival. Schalke (-0.5, -125).

Italian Serie A
9:00 am EST

Atalanta @ Lazio – This is probably the best match in Italy this weekend, outside of maybe the Turin derby between Torino and Juve. Atalanta come into this match in great form as they have won three straight matches and have gone unbeaten in their last eleven matches. Lazio meanwhile have had a few good wins including against Milan an Inter, but they’ve also dropped points to Chievo Verona, Sassuolo and SPAL. They’re also 2-3-1 in their last six and sit four points behind the final Champions League spot held by Atalanta. Atalanta will also have to play Juve in a few weeks and would feel much more comfortable going into that match with a three point cushion in their 4th place spot. I feel much more comfortable picking an Atalanta team who have had steady and consistent results against a Lazio team who are somewhat out of sorts right now. I’m even going to go as far as taking their moneyline at 2/1. Atalanta (+200).

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

Midweek Matches and Manchester Derby Preview

We’ve got midweek matches!! I have five picks from the Premier League (including the Manchester Derby), La Liga, German cup semifinal and the Italian cup semifinal. There’s a lot on the line so let’s get right to it.

This Season’s Record: 193-153-44 (+10.6 Units)
Matchweek 35: 5-1 (+4.8 Units)

Tuesday, April 23rd
German DFB Pokal Semifinal
2:45 pm EST

RB Leipzig @ Hamburg (TV: ESPNEWS) – If you read my blog for this past weekend, you’d remember how I was all over Leipzig. Now after their win against Gladbach, they’ve won six straight and eight straight away from home. Their defense is the best in the top division and they love getting results away from home. They’ll be facing a Hamburg team who are currently in the second division, fighting for promotion to the Bundesliga and they have a massive match this upcoming weekend with promotion implications. Their form is beginning to slip though with only one win in their last six which came against another second division side in the quarterfinals of this competition. Hamburg aren’t bad, in fact they were almost a shoe-in to return to the Bundesliga after this season, but they don’t matchup whatsoever to a Leipzig team who are one of the best in the top division. I love Leipzig on the spread here with the possibility of them running away with this against an inferior side. RB Leipzig (-1, -110).

Wednesday, April 24th
Italian Coppa Italia Semifinal Leg 2
2:45 pm EST

Lazio @ AC Milan – The first leg was 0-0 in Rome after Milan were able to hold Lazio at bay. These two actually faced off in the league ten days ago and Milan were able to triumph 1-0 at home after dominating them pretty handily on the stat sheet. Milan have been fantastic at home this season going 10-4-3 and not counting their derby ‘home’ match against Inter, they haven’t lost at home since December 22nd. Lazio meanwhile only have one win in their last five and are 1-1-4 in their last six away from home in all competitions. I feel much more confident taking the slightly more in-form and home team on the pickem line here in the second leg. AC Milan (Pick, -115).

English Premier League
2:45 pm EST

Arsenal @ Wolves – Both of these teams have been a bit puzzling this season. Wolves have been giant killers this season going 5-5-5 in all competitions against the top 6 but have had trouble playing the rest of the field. Arsenal meanwhile have been good enough to be in the top four, but have been absolutely dreadful away from home even with their recent win against Watford (Watford were a man down). They rank 9th in the away table and got their first clean sheet away from home only last week. Making matters worse for the Gunners, Wolves have been pretty great at home this year. They rank 8th in the home table and they haven’t lost at home since the first week of January, a run lasting nine matches across all competitions (7-2-0). I love Wolves on the pickem line here. Wolves (Pick, +105).

Manchester Derby
3:00 pm EST

Manchester City @ Manchester United (TV: NBCSN) – The 178th Manchester Derby might be one of the most important matches played between these two in years. Manchester City need a win if they want to go back to the top of the table, as this is the match that they have in hand over Liverpool. Not only will Manchester United be trying to stop them, but they are also fighting for a spot in the top four. After Chelsea lost, United now sit only three points out of that fourth place spot. This line opened at 1.5 for Manchester City but was quickly bought down to 1, as bettors think since this is one of the biggest derbies in England, it will be very tight.

These two come into this match in pretty different shape. City are 17-0-1 in their last 18 matches in all competitions and they have only lost in the league once since the start of 2019 (14 matches). United on the other hand only have two wins in their last eight, at home to West Ham and Watford, and lost to Everton 4-0 at Goodison Park this past weekend. Against the top six, Wolves, Everton and Barcelona in that span (comparable opponents) they are 0-6 with a goal differential of -12. Adding to the bad voodoo for United, they haven’t beaten City at home in the league since 2015 going 0-1-2 in that span. United are also winless in mid-week derbies against City since ’94, going 0-2-3.

I think City obviously have more to play for and are in better shape right now. Even with De Bruyne likely out for the rest of the season, their lineup should be at 100% and they have enough quality players on their roster that depth shouldn’t be an issue. United meanwhile are having trouble finding the right starting XI right now and have been traveling nonstop for the last eleven days, going to Barcelona and Everton. City meanwhile have been home for a week and will only need to travel 4 miles to Old Trafford for this one. I think across the board City match up better, will likely have fresher legs and are in much better form. At 1.5 I might have been hesitant to take City, but there’s no chance I can fade them at -1 here. I think this once could push but I think City’s likelihood for three points are much higher than that of a draw. Manchester City (-1, -130).

Thursday, April 25th
Spanish La Liga
3:30 pm EST

Real Madrid @ Getafe (TV: beIN Sports) – Real Madrid have been one big question mark this season; dropping points to people they normally shouldn’t be, crashing out of the Champions League much earlier than normal, lower-than-usual goal-scoring production and having the 6th most conceded goals. I haven’t liked picking matches they’re in because of their inconsistency but this match definitely intrigued me. Getafe have been one of the darlings of La Liga this season, sitting in third place with the third best defense in the league. They only have one loss in their last twelve matches, are 10-1-5 at home this season and have the third most draws in the league. The draws stat would be worrying for some teams but for someone like Getafe, it shows that they know how to grind out the results they need to. That’s why I think the draw has a ton of value here at +250. Madrid haven’t won either of their last two away matches and Getafe could really use a result here. I think those two things will equal out to a hard-fought draw, much like Madrid’s last away match where they lost to Leganes. I’ll take the draw. Draw (+250).

That’s all for this weekend’s preview!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

Matchweek 34 Preview

Wednesday Recap:

  • Ajax and Juventus drew 1-1 in a match that either team could have won. Both teams passed up scoring chances all match, but a Ronaldo header right before halftime broke the deadlock after Ajax failed to track his run into the box. Ajax then responded with a goal right out of the gate in the second half, catching Juventus sleeping. It’s all up for grabs in the second leg.
  • Barcelona went into Manchester and dominated the first half, scoring a goal only 12 minutes in. The goal was built by a 48-pass build up where every player on the field touched the ball for Barcelona. They kept United at bay for the rest of the match and will be taking their one-goal lead with the away goal advantage back home for the second leg.

This Season’s Record: 184-154-42 (+8.4 Units)
4/10 UCL Quarterfinals: 3-0 (+4.3) Units)

A great Champions League Quarterfinals for me as I went 4-1 and completely nailed Wednesday predicting both games to a T (is that how you say it? Idk, we’ll carry on). Let’s see what we can get from this weekend.

Saturday, April 13th
German Bundesliga
9:30 am EST

Borussia Mochengladbach @ Hannover – Hannover are currently sitting at the basement of the Bundesliga and are on their way to being relegated. They’ll face a Gladbach team who are fighting for a chance to play in the Champions League next year, as they sit four points out of that final spot. Although they’ve hit a slight blip in form, I just don’t see them dropping points to a Hannover team who have gained points from a match once since mid January (going 1-10 in that span). I think Gladbach’s quality will show and they could honestly run away with this one. Gladbach (-1, -105).

English Premier League
10:00 am EST

Bournemouth @ Brighton – Both teams are in bad form going into this, as Brighton have had three straight losses in all competitions and Bournemouth with two straight. But two of Brighton’s losses came against Chelsea and City while Bournemouth’s came against Leicester and Burnley. Two things stand out to me here with the first being the disparity of Bournemouth’s away results compared to their home results. They stand in 10th in points at home but away from home they’re 16th with a record of 4-0-12, they have the most goals conceded with 37 and have the third worst goal differential.

The other thing that stands out to me is the fact that Brighton still have some work to do relegation-wise. They’re sitting tied for the last safe spot with a game in hand of Southampton and Cardiff, the two teams next to them. A win here would really help their race away from the relegation zone, especially with Cardiff having back-to-back away matches and then they are home to Liverpool. I like Brighton to go out and get a win, just a week shy of holding Man City to a 1-0 win in the FA Cup Semifinal, to all but assure their safety. Brighton (-0.5, +125).

Cardiff @ Burnley (TV: NBCSN) – Much like Brighton, Cardiff could really use a result here to help keep their race for survival alive. The only difference is that they’re going away from home to face a Burnley team who have won two straight against Wolves and Bournemouth. Adding to that, Cardiff have had real trouble this season allowing a large % of shots on target, ranking 5th most in defensive shots on target/shots (Def SoT/Sh) with 36%. Meanwhile Burnley rank 1st in scoring % at 53.7%, a stat which calculates the amount of goals per shot on target. Cardiff allowing a lot of shots this season versus a team who scores the most off of their shots on target does not bode well for a Cardiff team who have trouble scoring themselves, letting in the third most goals in the league this year.Burnley (-0.5, -110).

Everton @ Fulham – This match doesn’t look like a good one for Fulham. They’re already relegated, have lost 13 of their last 14 matches and are facing an Everton team who have won three straight against Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal. According to Lowe Down Stats, they rank last in their Three Factors Ranking, an offensive and defensive combination of shots/96 mins, shots on target/shots and scoring %. Adding even more to that, they rank in last place in goal differential average. The only reason they hung around that long was because of a few good results after a managerial change earlier in the year. I think Everton will breeze through this one with the chance to get back to their usual spot of 7th place. Everton (-0.5, -125).

Italian Serie A
12:00 pm EST

Udinese @ Roma (TV: ESPNEWS) – This line almost feels like a trap with Roma as a one-goal favorite at home. I know Roma haven’t been themselves this season and only have two wins from their last seven, but they’re facing an Udinese team who have been even more below their average this season. Yes, Udinese are fighting for their lives towards the bottom of the table and are undefeated in their last three, but they’ve been beyond poor away from home this season with one win from 14 matches. Against the top clubs in Italy, Udinese have gone 1-1-7 with a -12 goal differential, and away from home have gone 0-1-3 with a -6 goal differential. Roma will also be fighting for something though, being only one points out of the last Champions League spot.

Adding to this, Roma’s home goal-scoring record is first in the league with 2.33 goals per game at the Stadio Olimpico while Udinese’s away goal differential is 16th in the league. I love Roma to win here at home against an Udinese side who haven’t won at the Stadio Olimpico since 2012 and have had a goal differential of -10 over the five games prior to that win. Roma (-1, -130).

2:30 pm EST

Lazio @ AC Milan – Although Milan are three spots above Lazio in the table, recent results should have their fans feeling very nervous about finishing above them this season. Milan haven’t won in their last four matches, losing to Inter, Sampdoria and Juventus while drawing to Udinese at home. Now only three points separate Milan in 4th and Torino in 8th and that last Champions League will be completely up for grabs in this last month and a half. The biggest thing for me in this match is Lazio’s ability to limit opponents away from home, where they have allowed 15 goals and scored 15 goals. I don’t think Milan offer a lot up top to stifle Lazio’s defense, especially as they rank 7th in goals at home this season. I like Lazio on the pickem line with their ability to limit what Milan can do offensively. Lazio (Pick, -105).

Sunday, April 14th
English Premier League
11:30 am EST

Chelsea @ Liverpool (TV: NBCSN) – The last time these two faced off with one fighting for a title, Gerrard slipped and gave Demba Ba a goal which also gave Man City a title in 2014. That obviously won’t happen again, but this is Liverpool’s opportunity to either keep the pressure on City or fall behind and likely go another year without a title. Can they erase those demons and avenge that fateful day? Unluckily for them, Chelsea haven’t lost to Liverpool in all competitions since September of 2016 (five unbeaten). In fact, Liverpool have only won 2 of the last 16 matches against Chelsea. The Blues are starting to create more chances than they were earlier in the season and now rank second in the league in shots per 96 minutes on offense and third on defense. They also have this guy named Eden Hazard who, let’s just say, is pretty fu**ing unbelievable and can change any game in the blink of an eye.

They’ll be facing a Liverpool team who have been great this season at home with the second best home goal differential average. But lately they have started to see some slippage. Yes, they’ve won their last four at home in all comps but they haven’t been that impressive of wins, only covering the spread once in their last four. Adding to that, in their last four matches against the Top 6 and Everton, they are 1-2-1 with a goal differential of 0. I don’t feel comfortable taking Liverpool as one-goal favorites here and I’m instead taking a risk-averse approach with Chelsea, believing they’ll make it more of a closer game. I don’t see Liverpool running away with it. Chelsea (+1, -120).

That’s all for this week’s picks. Don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of the page and to follow on Twitter and Instagram!!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Instagram: @canikickitblog

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